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Can You Have Soy Sauce on the Carnivore Diet?

In the strict version of the Carnivore Diet, you’re not allowed to use soy sauce because it’s a plant-based food. But if you’re on a relaxed version of this diet, you can have soy sauce on the Carnivore Diet. You should only have it in the right amount and right way because consuming too much of it can disrupt your Carnivore goals.

Can You Have Soy Sauce on the Carnivore Diet?
Highlights
  • Soy sauce is an old condiment made from wheat, soybeans, water, and salt.
  • You can use soy sauce only if you’re not following the strict version of the Carnivore Diet.
  • Soy sauce is a rich source of antioxidants and can help your digestion, brain function, and heart health.
  • You can use bone broth, fish sauce, and other animal fats, like lard, as alternatives to soy sauce on a Carnivore Diet.

What Is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce was first made in China between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD. Originally, it was fermented from meats, fish, and salt, but later, soybeans were added and became the main ingredient. Then, this recipe was introduced to Japan in the 7th century and evolved into the Japanese soy sauce we know today.

The base ingredients in soy sauce are soybeans, wheat, water, and salt, but there are many recipes and methods to use soy sauce with different ingredients to modify the taste.

Soy sauce has four main types, including:

  • Dark Soy Sauce (Koikuchi): It originated in Japan’s Kanto region and has come to be used all over the country and the rest of the world. Koikuchi has a dark brown color, is made from equal amounts of soybean and wheat, and has a salty and deep umami flavor.
  • Light Soy Sauce (Usukuchi): It has a lighter color than dark soy sauce, and its recipe uses more salt than Koikuchi, making its taste saltier and less strongly fermented. Usukuchi originated from Japan’s Kansai region and is best used in Kansai cuisine or for dishes that require a more subtle umami flavor.
  • Tamari Soy Sauce: Mostly used in Japan’s Chubu region, Tamari is a variety of soy sauce that mostly originates from a recipe that came to Japan in the 7th century. It’s the only Japanese soy sauce that doesn’t have wheat but has a dense umami flavor good for sushi and sashimi.
  • White Soy Sauce (Shiro Shoyu): It’s the lightest color soy sauce and is made by brewing mostly wheat and a small amount of soybean. It has a mild and sweet flavor, and its light color doesn’t change the food’s color, unlike other soy sauces.

The table below summarizes the nutrients in 100 grams of soy sauce [1].

Calories (kcal)53
Protein (g) 8.14
Fat (g) 0.57
Carbohydrates (g) 4.93
Fiber (g) 0.8
Sugar (g) 0.4
Calcium (mg) 33
Iron (mg) 1.45
Magnesium (mg) 74
Zinc (mg) 0.87

Many dieters, especially those on the Carnivore Diet, ask, “Can I use soy sauce on the Carnivore Diet?”. Well, the answer is yes, but only if you’re following the relaxed version of this diet.

Learn More: Is Soy Sauce Keto? How to Eat? [The Best Alternatives]

Can You Have Soy Sauce on the Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet is focused on fat and protein from animal sources, like meat, fish, and eggs, and excludes all plant-based foods.

Soy sauce is made from soybeans and wheat, which are plant-based. So, it’s not allowed on a strict Carnivore Diet. But if you’re on a less strict version of the Carnivore Diet, you can use it occasionally since it’s not high in carbohydrates and has high levels of protein.

This rich nutrition profile has many health benefits for the digestive system and brain health.

Learn More: The Carnivore Diet: Is it Healthy? Benefits and Side Effects

The Benefits of Eating Soy Sauce with Your Meals

Soy sauce can help

  • Support Digestion
  • Improve Brain Health
  • Boost Nutrient Absorption
  • Enhance Heart Health
  • Reduce Inflammation

Support Digestion

The fermentation process of making soy sauce leads to the production of beneficial probiotics that promote gut health and improve digestion [2].

Improve Brain Health

Choline is a nutrient found in soy sauce that supports and boosts the connection between our nerves and the nervous system and enhances overall brain function [3].

Boost Nutrient Absorption

Soy sauce can improve the absorption of certain nutrients, such as calcium and iron because of the fermentation process. Through fermentation, soy sauce breaks compounds that make it easier for the body to take in these minerals from food [4].

Enhance Heart Health

A 2021 study shows that soy sauce can positively affect heart health by reducing bad cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease [5].

Learn More: Carnivore Diet and Cholesterol: Everything You Should Know

Reduce Inflammation

Soy sauce contains anti-inflammatory features and reduces the risk of certain chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes due to the compounds formed during fermentation.

The fermentation of soybeans produces isoflavones, which are antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Also, soy sauce contains peptides and other compounds that can help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve insulin sensitivity [6].

So, soy sauce can be a good addition to your diet if you’re not on a strict version of the Carnivore Diet. On a relaxed version, using soy sauce in moderation won't disrupt your diet goals.

So, if you like to include soy sauce in the Carnivore Diet, you should learn different ways to use it in your Carnivore meals.

Learn More: Can You Eat Sauce on a Carnivore Diet? [The Best Sauces to Eat]

'Meat saved our lives': These people lost 200 lbs and healed 5 common chronic diseases with Carnivore.

4 Ways to Have Soy Sauce on the Carnivore Diet

Here are 4 ways to add soy sauce to your Carnivore meals:

  • Add a Tangy Taste to Meats.
  • Add Umami Taste to Meals.
  • Boost Meat Flavor with Dipping Sauce.
  • Enhance Meat Taste with Soy Sauce Glaze.

Add a Tangy Taste to Meats

Combine soy sauce with ingredients like garlic, ginger, and a splash of vinegar to add flavor to meats, such as beef, chicken, or pork, for a tangy and savory marinade.

Add Umami Taste to Meals

Roast sliced meat with vegetables in animal fats, like tallow or lard, then add soy sauce to have an umami flavor.

Boost Meat Flavor with Dipping in Soy Sauce

Mix soy sauce with other flavorings, such as minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to create a dipping sauce for grilled or roasted meats.

Enhance Meat Taste with Soy Sauce Glaze

Soy sauce makes a glaze for meat and fish as you can brush it onto a joint of roasted meat, then briefly pop it back in the oven to caramelize.

To use soy sauce in these ways, you must choose the best available sauces with high-quality ingredients and production methods.

Many brands like Kikkoman and Pearl River Bridge are producing high-quality soy sauces available on Amazon. You can see their prices, reviews, and other information by clicking the links below and making a safe online purchase.

The 5 Best Soy Sauces

Here are the top 5 soy sauce brands you can use. They have been selected based on brand reputation, product features, and overall customer reviews.

Kikkoman Japan Made Soy Sauce

Kikkoman soy sauce is made with just four ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. It provides a tasty balance of flavors like salty and umami with hints of sweetness, bitterness, and tanginess.

It’s brewed using the traditional Japanese method called “Honjozo”, and has a naturally clear reddish-brown color because no artificial coloring is added.

In the Honjozo method, roasted wheat and steamed soybeans are combined with koji mold (the fermenting agent) and then placed in tanks with brine water, making an unfermented soy sauce solution called Moromi.

The Moromi is left to ferment for 6-8 months before being pressed. The soy sauce liquid is pasteurized and filtered before being aged, bottled, and sold.

ProsCons
Complex flavor Flavor can be too strong for some individuals
No coloring additives
Naturally produced

Pearl River Bridge Golden Label Superior Light

You can choose Pearl River Bridge if you’re looking for a light soy sauce. It’s produced in the Southern part of China without any artificial colors. It only has minimal levels of preservatives and a deep savory flavor with intense saltiness.

ProsCons
Naturally produced Too salty for some individuals
No coloring additives

Yamaroku Shoyu Tsuru Bisiho

Yamaroku Tsuru Bishio is an aged soy sauce made on the Japanese island of Shikoku. In Japan, soy sauce is called "Shoyu." This particular Shoyu is one of the finest and most expensive soy sauces available. Its rich umami flavor also makes it usable for foods like sushi.

ProsCons
Naturally produced Expensive
Artisanal quality

Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce

Lee Kum Kee is one of the best Chinese soy sauces for cooking, especially with pork meat. This soy sauce is made from high-quality ingredients and has a reddish-amber color that makes it different from other soy sauces in appearance.

ProsCons
Can be used in many recipes Needs better packaging for shipping

San-J Tamari

Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that is very popular in Asian recipes. The main difference between tamari and regular soy sauce is the brewing process and flavor. It doesn’t contain wheat, is gluten-free, and tastes less salty. You can use this tamari soy sauce for dipping and marinating.

ProsCons
No coloring additive Package for shipping could be improved
Gluten-free

Remember that if you’re on a strict version of the Carnivore Diet, you can’t eat soy sauce but can use alternatives, such as bone broth.

Learn More: The Bone Broth Diet: Meal Plan and How to Do

Soy Sauce Alternatives on the Carnivore Diet

You can use the following animal-based options to add flavor to your Carnivore meals instead of soy sauce. These alternatives have an umami taste like soy sauce, can be used in a variety of dishes, and are low in carbohydrates.

  • Bone Broth: Using bone broth as a base for soups and stews can add richness and flavor to your Carnivore dishes (View on Amazon).
  • Fish Sauce: It’s made from fermented fish and has a salty taste similar to soy sauce. It's a good choice for adding flavor to dishes and boosting electrolytes (View on Amazon).
  • Aged Cheeses: Flavored aged cheeses, like Parmesan or Pecorino, can add an umami flavor to your dishes.
  • Rendered Animal Fats: Using animal-based fats like tallow, lard, and duck fat can be a good option for cooking.

Worcestershire sauce and fish sauce are two soy sauces with similar taste, color, and use. Although they are slightly different in some features, like ingredients, you can use them as substitutes in some recipes.

Soy Sauce vs. Worcestershire Sauce

Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are two popular condiments used to add flavor to dishes, but they differ in their ingredients, production methods, and flavors.

While soy sauce is a staple in Asian cuisine, Worcestershire sauce originates in English cuisine and is a fermented condiment made from vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind, and various spices.

It’s not recommended to use Worcestershire sauce on the Carnivore Diet because it has more carbohydrates and less fat than soy sauce. The table below shows a comparison between the features of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

FeaturesSoy SauceWorcestershire Sauce
Base Ingredients Soybeans, wheat, salt Vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind
Flavor Profile Salty, umami, savory Savory, tangy, slightly sweet
Color Dark brown Dark brown
Common Uses Asian cuisine, marinades, dipping sauces Western cuisine, meat dishes, cocktails, marinades
Gluten Content Contains wheat Gluten-free
Types Available in various types, including light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and low-sodium soy sauce Comes in a single form but may have variations in flavor and intensity among different brands

Soy Sauce vs. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino, with a salty and savory taste, and is made by fermenting fish (generally anchovies) with salt.

You can check the similarities and differences between soy and fish sauce in the following table.

FeaturesSoy SauceFish Sauce
Base Ingredients Soybeans, wheat, salt Anchovies, salt
Flavor Profile Salty, umami, savory Salty, savory
Color Dark brown Light brown to reddish-brown
Common Uses Asian cuisine, marinades, dipping sauces Southeast Asian cuisine, marinades, dressings
Gluten Content Contains wheat Gluten-free
Types Available in various types, including light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and low-sodium soy sauce Comes in different levels of quality and fermentation, ranging from mild to intense flavors

Summary

Well, the answer to the question “Can you put soy sauce on the Carnivore Diet?” is generally yes, only if you are not following a strict version of the Carnivore Diet.

Since all plant-based foods are excluded in the strict version, you should use alternatives, like bone broth and fish sauce.

You can use a moderate amount of soy sauce on the Carnivore Diet as a beginner and gradually decrease your consumption because, in the long term, you should stick to the Carnivore Diet’s guidelines and try to avoid plant-based food with a more strict approach.

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